In 2017, we launched our #JitegemeeDreamÂ series, an online visual storytelling initiative that we are continuing and expanding in 2018. Working with Zimbabwean photojournalist, Fungai Tichawangana, our high school students took photos, videos, and wrote stories about their lives and their dreams for a brighter future. Here is Dennisâ€™s story:
My name is Dennis Mutuku, I just started college this year against all odds.
My Jitegemee Dream is to help my mother build a good house and to help my siblings achieve their goals in life.
I was brought up by a single mother who was physically disabled. We lived in the Mjini slum in Machakos Town, a family of 5.
I was born in the year 1996. For as far back as I can remember, life has been hard for us. Weâ€™ve always lived in informal rental homes, and so many times my mother has been unable to pay the rent. She worked very hard to earn our daily bread.
Day to day, I face challenges such as the lack of confidence and the poverty at our home. My mother requires medical treatment for her leg, which she broke some time ago. She needs to go for regular checkups and she cannot afford these. I am working so hard to ensure that this sort of thing will not happen to my family in future and to relieve my mum of her burden.
My motherâ€™s greatest wish was for all her children to get an education. It hasnâ€™t been easy to provide education for five children, along with food, shelter and security. Not only could she not pay the rent sometimes, there have been times when weâ€™ve had no food in the house.
One of my motherâ€™s friends saw potential in me and told my mother about Jitegemee. My mother and I went to Jitegemee and she shared her story with the staff there. I was accepted as one of the Jitegemee students and my life changed for the better.
I have learnt a lot at Jitegemee. I have learnt about brotherhood as we share meals, and we also share books. Jitegemee has provided a future for me and, by extension, my family. Jitegemee has opened up my eyes through field trips to different places in Kenya, like Lake Naivasha and Hellâ€™s Gate National Park.
There have also been career days where I have seen various options for careers to follow, and also talent shows where my friends and I have performed and had lots of fun. Two years ago, I graduated from high school, and now Jitegemee supports me with my college studies.
I find it amazing that a poor boy like me can get educated and access all these things. Thank you Jitegemee!